Before the NBA season began, many analysts considered the Brooklyn Nets the odds-on favorites to win this year’s Finals.
Suddenly, it seemed like maybe the Nets weren’t a sure thing.
That all changed on Wednesday night, when the Nets came to Chicago and blew them out, 138-112.
🔥 25 PTS, 7 REB and a season-high 16 AST 🔥 pic.twitter.com/z5num2I4N0
— NBA (@NBA) January 13, 2022
With Irving, Harden, and Kevin Durant all on the floor together, the unit worked like a well-oiled machine and easily took down the best team in the East.
Now, this looks like the Nets team everyone was expecting.
The biggest weapon the Nets have is its big three: Durant, Harden, and Irving.
Unfortunately, for a long time, this trifecta hasn’t been able to work together since Irving has been out of the league due to his COVID vaccination status.
But now that Irving is being used (only in away games) the world is getting a taste of what the Nets have to offer.
In Wednesday’s game against the Bulls, Durant had 27 points and Harden has 25.
Meanwhile, Irving was having an off night and only put up nine points and yet the team was still able to dominate the scary Bulls.
This makes the Nets even more frightening because they were able to work like magic on a night when one part of their big three was playing only okay.
Imagine what they can do when Irving is at performing at his peak.
The Nets’ big three is obviously important but some of the other players on the squad have been stepping up consistently, making Brooklyn fully fleshed out and deep.
Patty Mills, for example, has been doing Sixth Man of the Year work and Wednesday was no different: he put up 21.
Blake Griffin is back in rare form and was +34 with nine points and five rebounds.
So, yes, the big three of the Nets are finally playing together and that makes them all the more powerful but it’s really becoming more of a team effort.
Confidence Is Key
The Nets are playing as they believe in themselves and that is making a huge difference on the court.
For months now, there have been stories about inconsistency and troubled players (remember how much press Harden got for his problems early in the season) and that obviously had an impact on the team.
But the Nets we saw on Wednesday was a team that didn’t hear any of that noise and knew they were one of the best teams in the NBA.
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) January 13, 2022
Maybe it’s Irving’s return or maybe it’s just that point in the season when things are working better but you can really tell when a squad feels like they are capable of taking down their opponents.
Head coach Steve Nash put it best after the game, telling ESPN:
“These games can definitely give a team confidence. Give ’em mojo and something to build on, but it can also not. We’ve shown that we can perform this way, we’ve shown the type of spirit and energy we can bring to the game, the purpose. Now we got to build on it. We raised our level. We competed. We rose to the occasion, and now we move forward and hopefully it is a moment in time that helps us get to another level.”
The thought of the Nets having yet another level is downright terrifying for the rest of the NBA.